Cops: Alleged Husband Killer May Have Learned From Mom

Kouri Richins's mother, Lisa Darden, also had a partner die from overdose, writes detective
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 20, 2024 4:02 PM CDT
Cops: Alleged Husband Killer May Have Learned From Mom
Kouri Richins, a Utah mother of three who authorities say fatally poisoned her husband, Eric Richins, then wrote a children's book about grieving, looks on during a hearing Friday, Nov. 3, 2023, in Park City, Utah.   (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, Pool)

Accused of altering a life insurance policy before murdering her husband with a dose of fentanyl bought from a housekeeper, then selling a book about grief, Kouri Richins may not have acted alone, according to police. In a recently unsealed search warrant affidavit, a detective describes a long-ago incident involving Richins' mother, Lisa Darden, with parallels to her daughter's case that are "kind of spooky," Greg Skordas, a spokesman for the family of Eric Richins, tells KSTU. Darden was named a beneficiary of her romantic partner's estate shortly before the woman "died unexpectedly" of an overdose on oxycodone in April 2006, according to the affidavit.

The woman had a prescription for oxycodone and "reportedly struggled with abusing her medication," per NBC News. According to the detective, she "was not in a state of recovery from addiction at the time of her death. Based on my training and experience, this would likely rule out the possibility of an accidental overdose." The detective goes on to describe Darden's "disdain" for her son-in-law, apparent in conversations found on Kouri's phone. "Based on Lisa Darden's proximity to her partner's suspicious overdose death, and her relationship with Kouri, it is possible she was involved in planning and orchestrating Eric's death," he writes, per KSTU.

"Nothing about this seems really surprising because we always felt that Kouri's mother was in some way involved in this," says Skordas. "This is just more, I think, evidence against Kouri even though it's purportedly looking at her mother." An attorney for Kouri Richins counters that the death of Darden's former partner due to opioid addiction is "hardly suspicious ... and unfortunately, quite common." "That Ms. Darden was the beneficiary of her romantic partner's life insurance policy is also not unique," the attorney says. Darden has not been charged in the case. Kouri Richins has pleaded not guilty to aggravated murder and possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute. (She's reportedly been writing to her mother.)

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